Software developers have already found a way around the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which the House Judiciary Committee will not markup until sometime early next year.
Most critics say the bill would create an Internet “blacklist” that forces ISPs, search engines, financial firms and advertisers to de-list websites accused of copyright infringement, all without any actual court hearing or oversight. The legislation takes aim at the Internet’s domain naming system (DNS), which translates domain names like www.google.com to numerical Internet protocol (IP) addresses.
But an add-on for the popular Internet browser FireFox, called DeSopa, would circumvent DNS blockades with the click of a button.
“I feel that the general public is not aware of the gravity of SOPA and Congress seems like they are about to cater to the special interests involved, to the detriment of Internet, for which I and many others live and breathe,” DeSopa developer T Rizk explained to TorrentFreak.
“It could be that a few members of congress are just not tech savvy and don’t understand that it is technically not going to work, at all. So here’s some proof that I hope will help them err on the side of reason and vote SOPA down,” he added.
In a recent speech, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the bill would essentially “criminalize linking and the fundamental structure of the Internet itself,” adding that SOPA’s goal is “reasonable,” but that its “mechanism is terrible.”
“What they’re essentially doing is whacking away at the DNS system and that’s a mistake,” Schmidt explained. “It’s a bad way to go about solving the problem.”
Lobbyists for the entertainment industry insist that the radical changes to the Internet’s structure are necessary to prevent copyrighted material from being shared between sometimes hundreds of users at a time, which they claim costs movie studios billions of dollars every year, although that claim is not borne out by the facts.
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster